“A story of academic obsession, Renaissance magic and the ruthless pursuit of power. Captivating in every sense of the word.” —Sarah Pearse, New York Times bestselling author of The Sanatorium
Behind the closed doors of The Cloisters, shocking secrets and a mysterious deck of tarot cards spark a dark power game in a close-knit group of researchers—and not everyone will survive.
When Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to the Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its collection of medieval art where she is drawn to a circle of enigmatic researchers, including Patrick Roland, the charismatic curator specializing in the history of tarot.
Eager to escape her troubled past in rural Washington, Ann is happy to indulge in the researchers’ more outlandish theories. But when Ann discovers a breakthrough in the form of a mysterious deck of fifteenth-century tarot cards, she finds herself in the center of a dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition. And when one of the staff is murdered, everyone becomes a suspect. As the game spirals out of control, Ann must decide if the tarot cards can not only teach her about the past, but also about her future.
Deeply researched, lushly told, and thrillingly paced, The Cloisters explores the shimmering line between what is real and imagined, the magical melding of the modern and the arcane, and the power we have to defy what is written in the stars and shape our own fates.
“Mesmerizing…A seductive unfurling of lies, envy, and the pull of the occult, The Cloisters does for tarot what The Secret History did for Greek class. This sharp, shadowy book held me in thrall from beginning to star-crossed end.” —Sara Sligar, author of Take Me Apart
“Prepare to lose your entire afternoon to The Cloisters, first for its atmosphere, a medieval museum at the tip of Manhattan, and then to pursuing a young scholar in her search for an ancient tarot deck, while keeping a sharp eye on the brilliant, attractive colleagues who may be out to help her or kill her. Good luck staying ahead of this one and have a great time poring over the many treasures inside.” —Maria Hummel, author of Reese’s Book Club Pick Still Lives
“Sultry and sinister…Hays’s debut teems with sexual tension, the secrets of divination, and scholarly obsessiveness. With a jaw-dropping twist at the end, The Cloisters serves as a warning to us all: we may think we know what life has in store, but fate and fortune tend to turn their own tricks.” —Sarah Penner, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Apothecary
“A tour de force by an important new voice, The Cloisters begins as a fish-out-of-water story. But as Katy Hays deftly weaves in layer after layer of the occult, art, and academia, it turns into a rich tapestry that speaks to issues of privilege, power, and ambition—and, more than anything, the darkness lurking just inside ivory towers. Virtuosic and incredibly compelling, The Cloisters grabbed me in a way that no book has done since The Secret History.” —Rachel Kapelke-Dale, author of The Ballerinas
Katy Hays is a writer and adjunct art history professor in California, where she teaches rural students. She holds an MA degree in art history from Williams College and pursued her PhD at the University of California at Berkeley. She previously worked at major art institutions, including the Clark Art Institute and the San Francisco Modern Museum of Art. The Cloisters is her first novel.